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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

ISO        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

5. THE UNIVERSITIES OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND

So much has been said about the archetypal universities of
Bologna and Paris that it is necessary to call attention again to
the great diversity in the constitution and character of the seventy
or eighty medieval universities which were formed in express
imitation of them. Even when the founders professed the
intention of following the precedent of one or other of them,
local conditions of all sorts compelled considerable modifications
to be made. The Spanish universities, for example, were con-
stituted on the model of Bologna, but their dependence on royal
patronage brought them much more under ecclesiastical control
than Bologna. The universities of Southern France, again,
though primarily interested in law and closely akin to the Italian
universities in many respects, show the influence of Paris in a
combination of magisterial with student government, while at
the same time developing characters of their own derived neither
from Bologna nor Paris.

It will help to illustrate the variety of early university institu-
tions if we consider briefly the special features of the universities
of England and Scotland during the Middle Ages.

In the case of the English universities we need only speak here
of Oxford. Cambridge was not only a later foundation, but was
weak and obscure at this particular period. Oxford, on the other
hand, ranks among the earliest of the universities, dating back as
a loosely organized studium to the beginning of the Twelfth
Century; and from an early date it stood second in European
reputation to Paris, and for a time was not even second.

In respect of government and studies, Oxford followed closely
the lead of the great French university. There were various
minor differences, of which the absence of examinations for
degrees is perhaps the most interesting. But the only difference
of any consequence concerned the position of the chancellor. In
the first instance, the chancellor was the representative of the
Church as in Paris ; but Oxford was not a cathedral city, and the
chancellor was appointed by the Bishop of Lincoln, whose seat
was sixty miles distant. In these circumstances the conflicts
between Church and university which counted for so much in the
development of Paris were impossible in Oxford. Almost from
the first it was a matter of course that the chancellor should be